How To Become A Writer: A Beginner's Guide
How To Become A Writer: A Beginner's Guide
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Tips on Writing Without Distractions

My First BIG Failure: I Got Distracted From Writing My Book

Ok, how do I butter this update up without looking too shameful - I CAN'T...
You may have read in my interim blog post, where I reluctantly revealed, that I wrote chapter 13 of my book in a lengthy period of 5 months and 13 days. Ouch! This was shameful to post but that's what this book project is all about - reporting the rough with the smooth.

Now, from that post I kind of got myself back on track following my writing plan and all seemed to be running smoothly again. You seriously can't underestimate having a good plan to keep you on target.

I'm going to reveal my writing statistics in a bit, but first to show you that I did get back into writing fast again, here's the stat for the following chapter.

Chapter 14 took 11 days to write with 2855 words.

Great! I felt my writing was back on form and my book back on track. However, things started to go astray again...

As you will see from the following stats, and if you have followed along, you would probably have been wondering what's going on!

Well, all I can say is, I got distracted from writing my book and here's what happened... BUT first, I want to show you my UP and DOWN writing statistics.
My "Book Writing Project" Statistics
ChapterWord CountDate StartedDate FinishedTime Taken
One30665/7/20109/3/20118 Months 4 Days
Two27239/3/201126/3/201118 Days
Three315126/3/201130/4/201136 Days
Four287230/4/20115/5/20116 Days
Five29585/5/201123/5/201119 Days
Six285123/5/20117/6/201116 Days
Seven31278/6/20118/6/20111 Day
Eight30139/6/201122/6/201114 Days
Nine272722/6/201130/6/20119 Days
Ten286930/6/201111/7/201112 Days
Eleven289611/7/201122/7/201112 Days
Twelve273722/7/201117/8/201127 Days
Thirteen409717/8/201130/1/20125 Months 13 Days
Fourteen285530/1/201210/2/201211 Days
Fifteen237710/2/201219/5/20123 Months 9 Days
Sixteen234019/5/201218/10/20125 Months
I continued to write my book from where I left off and as you can see chapter 13 took a long time to complete.  You can also see that chapters 15 and 16 were lengthy too.  I'll tell you why shortly - it's kind of cool but is a distraction.

Here's my overall statistic:

Total words written for my book so far: 46,659

Now I will reveal WHAT caused my statistics to crash and it's something you need to watch out for as a writer...

2 "Distractions" Got In My Way Of Writing

Distractions Stopping Me From Writing

The problem anyone (not just writers) can face in life when trying to reach a goal are the DISTRACTIONS!

What is a distraction? A distraction is a thing that prevents someone from concentrating on something else. A diversion of attention from something. Or extreme agitation of the mind.

Distractions come in different forms and can prevent you from getting your book finished. Shortly, I'll go over some types of distractions you'll want to avoid whilst writing. In the meantime here's what happened to me...

There were two main writing distractions I faced - one I liked and the other was an unnecessary HUGE DIVERSION.  

Distraction #1: LOVE

Distraction #2: MONEY

Yes; I found myself getting distracted by love, and although I'm not complaining, it did take a huge amount of time away from my writing. I ended up travelling to South Africa to pursue my lady :)

I also got distracted by the lure of money and ended up going off in a totally different direction than that of my real passion - writing. I have a full-time job, which makes it hard enough to fit in my writing time, but then I started looking for quick solutions in making money online. I discovered it wasn't a quick solution!

So as you can see by my statistics, distractions as a writer can be fatal if you seriously want to become a published author.  

7 Types Of Writing Distractions To Look Out For

Types Of Writing Distractions To Look Out For

I'll go over what solutions you can adopt but firstly, here's a list of distractions that as an author you should be aware of, so you can get your book finished in good time:

#1. People, Friends, and Family
One of the biggest distractions an author can face is the wishes and will of others. The problem is, if you want to call it a problem (I don't personally see it as a problem), is that the writing game is a solitary undertaking.

Generally, it doesn't involve others to participate in your goal of writing a book. So if you have a family, or lots of friends, you WILL be distracted by them.

If you're like me then this won't be too much of a problem as I'm a bit of a loner; but if you go out or see friends on a regular basis then this will get in the way of writing your book. Family (if you have kids) is a different matter as you have a bigger responsibility to look after them.

#2. Being Pulled In Other Directions
This type of writing distraction leads on from the "People" distraction I've just mentioned. Now, you have a goal a purpose to write, I'm assuming if you're on this website. You have a GOAL - well; SO DO OTHERS!

I found that I would easily get pulled away from my goal to become a writer, by others, to help them with their goals. It's ok to help others with their goals to some degree but you also need to achieve your own.

#3. Shiny Objects
Shiny objects are other interesting things you would like to do or have. It's some thing or activity that suddenly grabs your interest and takes you away from writing. As I mentioned earlier, the 2 shiny objects I got distracted by were LOVE and MONEY. These two things completely distracted my concentration from writing; as you can see from my statistics.

#4. Unhandled Emergencies
If you have other responsibilities, such as family or work commitments, these can sometimes "blow up" in your face if you haven't organized things well enough to allow for writing time.

#5. Procrastinating
This is probably something we all do and not just writers. Procrastination comes in many forms and simply means putting things off, or I'll do it tomorrow. This will stop you from becoming an author for sure.

#6. Mental Barriers
Mental distractions can be a BIG problem for writers if you don't have the right mindset. One of the worst things an author (or writer just starting out) can do is to POISON HIS OWN MIND. By this I mean, think little of your work, or that it's no good, or some other form of self-criticizing. DON'T F##KING DO IT!!!! I mean it! You will damage your own creative ability and your book won't get finished.

#7. Poisonous Moaners
I left this one until last for a reason. You have to be aware there are people (you've probably come across a few) that are just full of "poison". These people continually moan and groan and criticize. If you hang on to every word they say they will destroy you and your work.

7 Solutions & Tips For Distraction-Free Writing

How To Write Without Distractions

So here are some practical tips you can use to avoid distractions when writing. I'm going to give you some tips for the above problems that will hopefully help keep you on track and distraction-free.

#1. People, Friends, and Family
Simply let your friends know what you're doing and gain their support for wanting to become an author. They are your friends and should support you. You don't have to cut them out totally, but gain their understanding and simply reduce time spent with them. At least until you've finished writing your book.

When it comes to family you will have to organize your time. Allocate specific times to write and specific times to spend with family. Get your partner to see what benefits could be had from becoming a successful author. Get your partner involved in some way. Perhaps get them set up an author website and social media pages for you and to help promote you.

#2. Being Pulled In Other Directions
Hopefully by letting your friends and family know what you are doing and gaining their support will help with this type of distraction. You will also have to use SELF-DISCIPLINE and learn to say NO and also PRIORITIZE IMPORTANCES. By importances I mean to what degree is something important enough to cause you to be distracted from writing.

Examples...

My house is on fire - of course you're going to stop writing to put the fire out; but then get back to it :)

A bird has pooped on the window - SO WHAT! That is unimportant really and doesn't need immediate attention.

Use your judgment and be aware of what's pulling you away from writing.

#3. Shiny Objects
Again, SELF-DISCIPLINE and keeping to your writing plan. If you really want to become a successful writer you can add these shiny object distractions to a TO DO LIST for the future. Doesn't mean to say you have to do them but you can if you want to - IN THE FUTURE.

After recognizing my MONEY-MAKING shiny object distractions, I stopped working on them. I realized it was taking me away from what I actually loved doing - writing.

My LOVE shiny object is another matter though. I am continuing that but just reorganizing my time again :)

#4. Unhandled Emergencies
It's not always foreseeable but GOOD ORGANIZING can give you quality distraction-free writing time. Get any potential emergency situations covered. BE WELL ORGANIZED and wrap-up any unhandled or unfinished work or family jobs that could potentially drag you away from writing.

Another point I want to get across is DON'T MAKE UP "EMERGENCIES" or get sucked into one that actually isn't an emergency. Some people just love to be in a state of crisis the whole time - use good judgment!

#5. Procrastinating
Yep, yet again, SELF-DISCIPLINE and STICKING TO and USING your writing plan, will help you concentrate on writing. And DON'T make things overwhelming. If your plan is to write 1 chapter a day around your day job and looking after your family - ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE IT?

Give yourself easily attainable doable targets; perhaps write 2 pages a day. The point is; overwhelming yourself will cause you to put off doing the next step. Give yourself targets you know you can very easily achieve, and if you do more, then that's a bonus. Doing this will keep you free from distraction and keep you succeeding.

Another tip to keep you going is to always look at your PURPOSE - which should always be included in your plan. Keep looking at your purpose and WHY you love to write and WHY you want to become a writer. Keep the fire of your purpose alive and you will want to write. If you don't have a purpose, then find one that's real to you.

You can also assign someone who is like-minded (another writer perhaps) and on the same path as you to KICK YOUR BUTT. Help each other to keep writing.

#6. Mental Barriers
We all, more or less, have mental difficulties in life; that's life. It's what you do to overcome those barriers that matters. A good tip to keep you writing is to NOT FOCUS ON THE BARRIER, but, FOCUS ON YOUR GOAL.

If you start having self-doubts or start to "poison" your writing abilities then take a walk or go and do some physical activity you enjoy. Take your attention off the difficulty. Then when you feel better, LOOK AT YOUR PURPOSE again. Reboot your purpose until you feel inspired. Then start writing (without negative distractions).

One of the worst things to KILL a writer, is them self. DON'T DO IT! And never write when you are feeling in a negative mood yourself. I've done that and spent wasted time having to fix-up my work once I was in a better mood.

#7. Poisonous Moaners
What can you do about someone who CONTINUALLY CRITICIZES you, your books, or writings? Well hell, just SHOOT THEM and bury them under the floor-boards! Damn, I don't have a gun :)

Seriously, these people will drain the freaking life out of you - if you allow it. They will distract you to hell and back, and you won't get anything done of value.

Here's the solution... CUT THEM OUT OF YOUR LIFE. If you have tried to talk to them on many occasions BUT they are CONTINUALLY attacking you - GET RID OF THEM. They don't have your best interests at heart. If they follow you on social media then block their profile. Don't tolerate that sh#t!

Now people will criticize your work - I'm sure the best authors get criticized - but differentiate what is genuine criticism to help you become a better writer, to criticism that is just plain POISON. The latter type you want to cut out your life.

Instead, surround yourself with genuinely supportive people, that do still tell you what perhaps you are doing wrong, but conversely what you are doing right as well. SEE THE DIFFERENCE?

Have Your Say

As always, let me know your thoughts below. And share any problems you've had that have distracted you from writing. Perhaps you have some better tips to help with getting rid of distractions when trying to write.

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